COVID-19 19th March: CDO(Eng) replies & Scottish dentists offered financial support package

COVID-19 19th March: CDO(Eng) replies & Scottish dentists offered financial support package

Update today includes a financial offer to Scottish dentists in return for not performing aerosol generating procedures. Anger intensifies over lack of guidance from CDO (England). Both the GDC and CQC have given some clarification about how they will be working during the emergency. The LDC Conference this year has been postponed from June to November 26/27 in Brighton.

Scotland

The Scottish Government has written[i] to General Dental Practitioners providing information on the steps which should be taken during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidelines said aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) must stop with immediate effect. Treatments including routine fillings, root canals and scaling and polishing will be stopped unless in the case of a dental emergency. Delivery of urgent care to anyone with symptoms of coronavirus will take place at "designated urgent dental care centres".

The chief dental officer for Scotland, Tom Ferris, told BBC Scotland: "It is important to minimise the spread of the virus and to this end we have asked dental teams not to undertake dental treatments which create an aerosol and risk spreading the virus. This is the same approach being taken in Wales.” He added: "The Scottish government has put in place a range of financial support measures for practices providing NHS dental services; to ensure they have a degree of financial protection during this difficult period."

English dentists angry over lack of information

Anger has mounted in social media, much of it directed personally at the CDO England, Sara Hurley, about the lack of up to date guidance on what is expected from GDPs at this time, despite this being given to dentists in Scotland and Wales by their respective CDOs. This follows publication of a letter sent by the BDA to stressing that their members were desperate and asking what they should do in the absence of official advice over COVID-19.

The LDC Federation[ii] (London LDCs) has written to all practitioners in London, recommending they review their practice in the context of the guidance for Wales and Scotland.

The Chair of Conservative Dentists reported that he had had a ‘long conversation’ with the CDO and pressed on her the ‘concerns of our profession’.

The CDO has now replied to the BDA, this letter shown here, two pages.

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Regulators

The General Dental Council’s Stefan Czerniawski has published a paper:[iii] Responding to COVID-19: caring for patients in uncertain times. He says: “We have been getting a lot of questions – very understandably – about what dental professionals should do in the face of the spread of COVID-19 and how they should best protect their patients and themselves in these unprecedented circumstances. And there is lots of concern – and some anger – about why the GDC is not doing more to provide direction and guidance.” But he says, although some of those questions are for them to answer, many of them are about clinical best practice, ‘which is not what we are here for.’

Last week the Care Quality Commission (CQC) announced[iv] that their routine inspections had been suspended in response to coronavirus outbreak. The changes include stopping routine inspections, a shift towards other, remote methods to give assurance of safety and quality of care, but there would be some inspection activity in a small number of cases, for example where there are allegations of abuse.

[i] https://bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Documents/Scotland%20COVID-19%20Guidance%20170320.pdf

[ii] https://ldc.org.uk/coronavirus-impact-on-primary-care-dentistry/  

[iii] https://www.gdc-uk.org/news-blogs/blog/detail/blogs/2020/03/18/responding-to-covid-19-caring-for-patients-in-uncertain-times

[iv] https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/routine-inspections-suspended-response-coronavirus-outbreak

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